Drumming as a Survival Tool
Russell Buddy Helm
As life throws challenges at us, we must come up with solutions quickly. We must improvise. Or succumb to the temptation to give up. In drumming we create a model of continuity and progress that is based on this recurring DOWNBEAT. That is the anchoring note, the repeating, comforting cornerstone for civilization and love. Without the combined force of the group downbeat there is no community. On an individual level the ongoing downbeat is a comfort. It is knowing that even when we miss one of the downbeats, there will be another coming along just when we need it. It is steady, repetitive and consistent Everyone gets lost but we get back on the downbeat and we feel better-connected, in control.
In sharing the groove with a friend or even a stranger we exchange energies that are far more profoundh than words. We share fait, hope, love and creativity. Even Divine inspiration. This comes about not from playing correct notes learned in an intellteuwal way but playing from our hearts.
When our lives are challenged and we falter, the act of hitting a drum in a hopeful way renews our faith in life and belief that everything will work out fine. It gives us hope in an instant. Mysterious as it is, the sensation is there.
Russell Buddy Helm Santa Monica, CA August 18, 2011